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The Crystal Egg-A More In Depth Analysis Than Humanly Accept...
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Posted 28/08/2008 06:19
Supreme Being
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I'm not sure if anyone else has written a post on this yet, but I feel like that this story needs to be stressed amongst Wells purists, because it answers a few questions about The War of the Worlds (as well as bringing up a few new ones).

In the year of 1898, when Wells was serializing The War of the Worlds, he published a short story called "The Crystal Egg." In it, two men examine a peculiar crystal egg which acts as a visual portent to a world filled with strange sights (an alien city, alien creatures, etc...). Seeing the stars of the strange world at night allows the men to discover that it is in the same solar system. The more scientifically inclined of the two postulates Mars.

Now, after just reading the story a few minutes ago, I think that the story takes place in the same continuity as The War of the Worlds. I've come up with a list of reasons why I think so.

1.) Both stories were written around the same time, and deal with Mars. Authors usually have themes present in their works, and specially in works written closely together. (I also believe that "The Sleeper Wakes" and "The Time Machine" are also within the same continuity)

2.) There is mention of a "red weed" which extends through the planet. The red weed played a big part in TWOTW, and it covered most of England.

3.) There is a machine that the observers find made of "glittering metal" which looked like a giant insect. This mirrors the description of the Handling Machine and other pieces of martian equipment in TWOTW.

4.) There is a round-headed martian with "hand-like tentacles." When the narrator of TWOTW retrospectively spoke of the scientific examination of the invaders, the tentacles were classified as hands, and the martians, as per Richard Burton's narration, had a "round bulk, larger than a bear."

5.) There is also mention of translucent bipedal martians which resemble apes. In a dramatic scene, a CE round-headed martian grabs an 'ape' martian just as the signal on the egg fades. In a chapter of TWOTW (which I can't remember; sorry, but it does exist), the narrator speaks of an examination of the Martian cylinders, which showed that the martians brought along bipedal, pale look, ape-like creatures as food for the journey. (It can be inferred that the Martian 'ate' the blood of the poor creature in the Crystal Egg).

I believe Wells included enough similarities in the stories to show that there are two sides of the coin in his Martian continuity. We can infer that, somehow, the Martians were able to scatter these Crystal Eggs on Earth, and observed our development through these eggs; the "envious eyes" of the book's dramatic beginning.

Though, The Crystal Egg raises a few new questions, mainly in introducing a new race of Martians; an avian species which look into the crystal eggs (the Mars Eggs suspended on high masts); the observers believe that the avian martians rule the planet, because they move to and fro from the buildings in the sight of the Egg. It is said that the round-headed martians of CE are 'similar' to the avian creatures, so it is possible that the two races are related (both, possibly to the ape-like creatures). Since the Martian society in TWOTW is based on evolution, and by default superiority, then there are undoubtedly masters of Mars, but it is unclear which of the two are dominant. The round-headed Martians of The Crystal Egg obviously have dominance over the ape-like creatures.

Sorry if anyone thought this was boring. I'm a nerdy guy, and I love thinking up stuff like this. And it brought a lot more meaning to my reading of my favorite science fiction book, y'know?

Any thoughts on this?
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Posted 28/08/2008 13:26




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Interesting post!

I think most people who've read both stories would agree with your ideas.

It certainly seems to me that Wells intended CE as a prequel to TWoTW.


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Posted 31/08/2008 20:08


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I was actually referring about the two species defined in 'WotW' to a friend (reading a copy of my novel no less!) and it seemed to us that the bipeds may have been an ancient species of Martian which the 'Octopus' Martian may have evolved from (Wells suggesting that Humans may evolve to Martian-like forms eventually).

That being the case (and in keeping with a lot of the narrative of the novel) perhaps their 'livestock' is becoming extinct?

As to the Avian Species of Martian, I guess I'll have to find and re-read my copy of "The Crystal Egg".

Oh, to add to the link, it seems that in the Sleeper Awakes the story is based in the post History of the 'WotW'as someone mentions an incident with the Martians...  I believe there's a link to 'First Men on the Moon'at the end of 'WotW'with the Selenite Paperweight?  All off the top of my head... 

 

 


"Grotesque gleam of a time no history will ever fully describe!"

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Posted 31/08/2008 20:56
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That's what I had assumed as well about the bipedal Martians. Almost to the point of linking the idea to the Eloi and the Morlocks, except the Martians still innovated technologically after their degradation.

I think that Wells was saying that all of Mars was dying; with the cooling of its surface and the like. Now, it could probably be inferred that yah the foodstock was dying off. But the whole planet's eminent death caused the invasion, I think. But I do think you're right.

I think they are slaves that do menial, yet specialized tasks that the octopus Martians don't care to do themselves.

Hmm, that's actually some interesting possible links that you bring up. I haven't had the time to finish The Sleeper Awakes (I barely had time to finish The First Men in the Moon), but I'll definitely read through it and keep an eye for that reference. Or look it up online in a searchable format. Here it is from the second Chapter:

"And there's been the War," said Isbister.

"From beginning to end."

"And these Martians."

So there is a link between between the War of the Worlds and the Sleeper Awakes. Huh. That's interesting. I also think that The Sleeper Awakes and The Time Machine are connected, with their similar division of society, but that might just be Wells' socialism. But if that were the case, then The Crystal Egg, The First Men in the Moon, The Time Machine, and The Sleeper Wakes all take part in the same future history.

Huh.
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Posted 01/09/2008 10:15




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You guys might like 'The Space Machine' by Christopher Priest. It takes in these ideas and goes a bit further and the story runs parallel with Wells' book.

Two people are accidentally transported to Mars in a Time (and space!) Machine as the Martians are preparing for their invasion of Earth. They have to live amongst the bipeds for some time and find out a fair bit about their society. There are two races on Mars, you see: the bipeds are the slaves, of course.

Anyway. Knowing Wells' real-life ideas perhaps make the similarities and links in some of his stories more obvious to us. But, perhaps, he also liked tying some of his tales together in some future he envisaged, like EW said. Lots of authors do that. It's kind of fun spotting that sort of thing, I think.


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Posted 02/09/2008 22:14


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OKay 'Nerf - hopefully a copy will be with me soon...

 

 


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Posted 03/09/2008 01:48
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I'm not too fond of people who try to infringe on any author's work, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for it.
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Posted 03/09/2008 15:25




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You won't be too fond of me either then, I've not long completed my own sequel novel to TWoTW.


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Posted 03/09/2008 20:44




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How could we be not fond of you? You'll push your magical "EDIT POST" button, so we do be fond of you




Brendan Agnew: TWOTW Site Admin and overall Nutter

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Posted 03/09/2008 21:14
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I allow for good fan fiction (no insult intended), Nerf, so no hard feelings. And keep in mind I said GOOD fan fiction. Something that follows the continuity and has the spirit of the original work. Nothing like the epic Half-Life 2 fanfiction Half-Life: Full Life Consequences.

"John Freeman, who was Gordon Freemans brother, was one day an office typing on a computer. John got an email from his brother that said that aliens and monsters were attacking were attacking his place and axed him for help..."

It spirals down from there.

What is your sequel like?
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